Believe it or not, rough and tumble play is actually ok! Research has shown it is necessary for social awareness, compassion, and cooperation.
- Children are more body-based – this is how they learn about their world
- Other benefits include:
- Improves motor skills
- Allows for emotional expression, energy release and tension reduction
- Teaches social awareness and boundaries
- Stress hormones go down; Stimulates endorphins and oxytocin (bonding)
So what is the difference between rough and tumble play versus fighting? Rough and tumble play will always have:
- Willing participants
- The children are having fun
- The children keep returning to the rough and tumble play
If one of the children is not having fun, not a willing participant and there is intention to hurt, then this is not rough and tumble play.
How to support safe rough and tumble play:
- Ensure that the area is free from objects that can cause injury
- Is the area large enough to support this type of play?
- Set rules for the rough and tumble play such as “no hitting” and “no biting”